First things first. Tory Miller is apologetic.
The Colorado men's basketball veteran most equipped to fire off humorous off-the-cuff one-liners and flash jovial grin, Miller became a momentary victim of his own sense of humor on April Fool's Day.
Seizing an opportunity for a laugh, Miller posted a tweet smack in the middle of transfer season that hinted his time in Boulder was over after three seasons. It wasn't, of course, but one person not amused by the joke was CU head coach Tad Boyle, who was just settling in for the NCAA Final Four in Arizona when he had to leave his seat momentarily to deal with Miller's unique brand of comedy.
"Yeah, coach FaceTimed me," Miller said, shaking his head. "I've never had a coach FaceTime me before."
All joking aside, Miller has begun preparations for his senior season, and he does so in unfamiliar territory as for the first time Miller will head into the year as the Buffaloes' No. 1 post player. After serving three seasons in a backup role behind Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon, Miller believes he is ready for the added responsibilities that will be on his 6-foot-9 shoulders both on and off the floor.
"I've been waiting for it. I'm ready for it," Miller said. "There's nothing to feel pressured about. I've been in situations where I've had to play at a higher level because someone's been injured or what have you, so I don't feel like I have to force anything this year. I think it's going to come to me and I'm not going to try and force anything this year."
That same jovial nature that makes Miller so affable off the floor usually manifests on the floor through his exuberant energy, which often stood out in stark contrast to the laid-back Gordon and even the more methodical approach of Scott. However, Miller's penchant for getting into foul trouble has consistently limited his overall production.
Even with Scott out of the picture this past season, Miller averaged the same 15.8 minutes as the year before, often because easily-avoidable fouls sent him back to the bench. Despite shooting a career-best .537 from the floor — a significant jump from his .469 mark the previous season — Miller's scoring average moved minimally from 5.5 to 5.6.
In short, while Miller's minutes generally were more efficient, he didn't play enough of them to make a bigger impact. As a senior who will be counted on to assume a greater leadership role, Miller understands the need to stay on the floor for a frontcourt that will feature two unproven freshmen in Evan Battey and Dallas Walton, in addition to sophomore Lucas Siewert whose inside game remains a work in progress.
"Tory certainly has leadership capabilities, and we want him to be one of the leaders on this team," Boyle said. "I think the big message with Tory is to do what you do well, and don't try to do what you can't do. If Tory does those things, he's going to help us win.
"Tory is an experienced player now, but obviously one of the issues he's had his whole career is foul trouble. You can argue, you can complain and do whatever, but you have to understand the flow of the game."